it's been a while...have some questions.

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by midthought, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. midthought

    midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Hi all...I don't suspect that folks will come flocking because they remember me, but I used to be kind of active on these forums about a couple years back. Well, I had a couple tanks then, and when the tanks started doing super poorly, I just didn't repopulate them (all that good bacteria gone to waste!). I felt super irresponsible for letting it happen, but I'd like to think this happens to other people, and that it doesn't mean that I shouldn't get back into the hobby. :-\ So I've been wanting to come back to fishkeeping, just on a limited basis -- a 10 gallon tank for a little betta -- and I thought I'd come back to my old fishkeeping forum haunts. I always remembered people being friendly 'round here and I have some fond memories of late-night off-topic threads with all. Apologies for starting things off with a bit of a ramble.

    Like I said above, I am looking to revive my 10 gallon tank, specifically for a single betta fish (to be brought home sometime in the future), and I'm hoping to get some advice. It's been literally about 1.5-2 years since the electric bits were all going, and I wonder if I should think about replacing anything before I start up the whole nitrogen cycle again. I suppose the heater, if it goes, should be pretty easy to replace if it comes to it, so I'm really just concerned about the filter. It's an Aqueon Power Filter 10. And I haven't yet dug up the old water testing strips and all that, but I hope there are expiration dates on those things so I'll know whether I can use them or not.

    Beyond that, it's been a while since I cycled a tank, and I am still undecided about whether I should just buy a single piece of shrimp from the grocery store or just drop in some ammonia everyday until the readings are good. The shrimp idea seems like less maintenance though. If anyone has input or suggestions on that, I would be happy to listen.
    Edit: Derpy derp derp, I forgot all about Tetra Safestart! I should get my hands on some of that, hm...

    I'm also still debating whether I should try live plants again or not, but I'm even less decided on that front...

    Anyway, thanks all. I hope to be good to the next fishie I get.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  2. e_watson09

    e_watson09Well Known MemberMember

    I don't know really about which way would be easiest to cycle your tank all of my tanks came from seeded media from someone else.

    As for the test strips and their expiration I would actually just toss them anyways and get a liquid test kit. They are much more accurate.
  3. OP

    midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Hmm, thanks, I actually remember having the both strips and the liquid testers now that you mention it. I recall having several of those little test tubes. I'm thinking that stuff probably doesn't expire, but I have not looked at my box o' water-testing/conditioning products in a while, so I will have to check.
  4. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Test kits do expire. The API liquids generally have a shelf life of 3 years, but I tend to replace mine every year.

    Have a look at the batch numbers, there should be a lot # which indicates the month and year it was bottled.

    I would toss them all and start again. From memory, I think it's Walmart that sells the API FW Master Kit under a generic brand that is quite a bit cheaper than the API branded one.

    Water conditioning - well I'd be replacing those too.

    FYI - I've compared the results of 12 month old test kit to a brand new one, and the differences were quite substantial. 0.4 on pH, about 10ppm on Nitrate.

    Especially given you've been out for a while, a dodgy test kit could cause you a bit of un-necessary pain with false readings.

    Welcome back!
  5. OP

    midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Good to know, Ryan, thanks! I will have to hit up a Petco or LFS to refresh the stock. Man, it's times like these that I wish I lived near a Walmart...
  6. cameronpalte

    cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    Their is a great rapidly growing forum, and I and others will try our best to help you!

    Everybody makes mistakes, and I think thats normal, and I have made very bad mistakes too. Yet I think that the main thing to do is to learn from your mistakes, and you should be fine.

    Its ok. 10 gallons is great for a little beta because from what I've seen, around 5 gallons is optimal for a beta so you are going above and beyond! Great luck, and if you need advice ask (which I think you did after this.)

    The main thing I would recommend looking at is just doing a small test to make sure the heater works, and then make sure the light bulb works because when I look at an old tank normally its the light that doesn't work.

    The heater I think is fine, you can do a simple test as I stated above. The water filter will be fine but I recommend replacing the bags (you can get bags for ~$3 each sot hat should be fine. You can take a cup of your water to a local pet store and they will normally test it for free. I would recommend just getting an API Master Test Kit liquid to help you out.

    I would recommend just hooking it all up putting the water and letting your filter (with the new bag), run for a few weeks and you should be fine. Also get a gravel suction and regularly clean your gravel. Since you have 1 beta fish in a 10g which is more than enough room you can look at also getting 1-2 red cherry shrimps.

    The only thing you really need is the conditioner to make tap water safe. I have never tired this, but you could test it out, and if you do tell us what you think of it.

    Live plants are good, from what I have heard amazon swords do pretty good, though I recommend going for small fake plants as a 10g is pretty small. You can get your 10g up and running, and then try to build a 55g community w/ live plants or something like that if you are interested in it, there are a lot of possibilities.

    You welcome. I am sure you will be good, and best of luck. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
  7. slashgash

    slashgashValued MemberMember

    Actually, that is not a proper way to cycle a tank. In order for a tank to be properly cycled you need to introduce what you want it to fight off. Its basically like a vaccination. When you get vaccinated, theyre injecting a small dose of the illness into your blood, so that your immune system can learn to fight it off. When cycling a tank, you need to have some sort of ammonia build up, so that the beneficial bacteria can learn to fight it off. If youre just simply running the filter, nothing is getting built up, therefore nothing is getting fought off.
  8. OP

    midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the input and the welcome. :)

    I am leaning toward just ordering some Tetra Safestart off Amazon so I don't have to worry about eye-droppering in ammonia or "feeding" the fishtank for a month. Once I get the fish bug, I know I'm liable to walk into the nearest LFS and pick up a little betta. Especially since the NYC breeder I was trying to find has evidently closed up shop...
  9. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    I'm going to respectfully disagree with the cycling advice given above.

    slashgash is kind of right, but it's not about 'vaccinating' the tank. Beneficial Bacteria convert toxic ammonia into (relatively) harmless nitrates. There are two forms of bacteria, one converts ammonia into nitrite, the other converts nitrite into nitrates.

    Cycling a tank is about building up the bacteria colonies to handle the bio-load of the tank.

    Also - re Tetra Safe Start, it's a fantastic product from all reports (we don't get in Aus so I don't have 1st hand experience). However, if cycling fishless, it's not necessary, other than to possibly speed up the cycle.

    If I were setting up a new Freshwater from scratch (with the experience I have now), my purchase list would be:

    Bottle of Seachem Prime
    API FW Master kit
    Some form of water conditioning [aka tropical conditioners] (e.g. GH/KH Powders or Seachem Replenish as we have really soft water)
    That's it for 'additives'.

    In my signature, there is a link to the Nitrogen Cycle that explains it well, and also within my Fishlore References links there is more info (scientific/detailed) about the various bacteria.

  10. cameronpalte

    cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    Wow, thanks for letting me know this, I'm starting a 55g this weekend~ so this will be good to know. See we learn something new every day:).